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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Who's at Fault in Spilled Cargo Accidents? – What Nashville Lawyers Say About It

Most drivers assume that the roads will be safe and free of debris when they get behind the wheel. However, many accidents occur due to spilled cargo.

Drivers of commercial trucks must take immediate action to avoid accidents when cargo spills off their vehicles without warning. Otherwise, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Spilled cargo often results in car crashes, severe injuries, and significant losses. Therefore, many victims seek compensation for these damages.

However, if filing a truck accident claim, injured parties must establish liability and prove that another party caused the accident.

Who is at fault if a wreck is caused by a cargo spill? Here's what the laws say!

Common Causes of Cargo Spills

Common Causes of Cargo Spills

Cargo spills are caused by multiple factors, including accidents involving other motor vehicles, driver error, or improper loading. Here's a list of the most common:

  • Loss of control when operating a commercial truck

  • Truck rollover accidents

  • Failure to properly secure cargo

  • Unexpected roadblocks

  • Inadequately loaded trailer

  • Jackknife accidents

  • Careless or reckless driving

  • Stopped passenger vehicle in a truck's lane

  • Improperly secured tie-downs

How to Determine Fault in Load Spill Accidents

When these accidents occur, many people assume the person driving the commercial truck is responsible for the cargo spills. However, it's important to know that these incidents can result from other people's actions.

Besides the truck driver, the person who packs the load may also be responsible for a cargo spill, for example.

Like other types of truck accidents, crashes caused by cargo spills may involve different parties in terms of liability.

Overall, these accidents can result from distracted driving, manufacturing defects, driving under the influence, driver fatigue, and other common mistakes.

As such, authorities in charge of handling the case must take into account different factors that may have contributed to the cargo spill. If hazardous materials are involved, which could have severe consequences for victims, it's also important to investigate the actual cause of the incident.

When these accidents are reported, law enforcement officers go to the scene and make a report, including different details, such as eyewitness testimonies.

While this report can help establish liability, claimants need more evidence to prove who was at fault for the falling cargo, as insurance companies also perform their own investigations to determine how much they should pay victims.

If the case goes to court, both parties need strong evidence to determine liability. The jury will also evaluate all the factors that could have caused the cargo spill to discover who was at fault for the damages that victims sustained.

Who Could be Liable for a Spilled Cargo Accident?

Considering the information explained above and the factors that can lead to a cargo spill, different parties may be liable for a cargo-related truck accident. These are:

The Truck Driver

Although they are not liable in all cases, a truck driver may be responsible for the accident if they failed to exercise caution or posed risks to other road users.

Drunk, distracted, and drowsy truck drivers can be held liable for accidents involving a cargo spill. A driver error, such as turning too fast, is another common cause of these incidents.

Other Drivers

Other motor vehicle drivers can also cause cargo spill accidents if they strike the back of the trailer, for example.

More often than not, the other driver contacts local officers to contain the debris at the scene. However, until authorities arrive, spilled cargo can cause subsequent crashes.

The Cargo Loading Company

A trucking company or motor carrier's cargo contractor can also be considered at fault in these cases if they fail to secure the load properly.


Sometimes, truck accidents are caused by hazardous roads. The municipality must perform proper maintenance to make sure roads are safe for all users. If this entity fails to do that, local authorities may be held liable for collisions.

How Can Victims Prove That The Accident Was Caused By Improperly Loaded Cargo?

As mentioned, the official police report is essential to establish liability in most cases. However, the evidence that truck accident victims need to prove that another party was responsible may vary depending on the circumstances.

Overall, these documents can help claimants prove liability to recover compensation:

  • The police report

  • Eyewitness testimonials

  • Photographs of the accident scene

  • Weight station receipts

  • Testimony from accident reconstruction expert

  • Cargo loading records

  • The driver's logbooks

  • Reports from the truck's event data recorder

Damages That Victims Can Pursue In Truck Accident Claims

The damages truck accident victims can recover if the crash was caused by cargo spills also vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also give more information on who's at fault in truck driver DUI accidents.

However, most of the time, claimants can recover the following damages if they win the case:

  • Medical expenses

  • Property damage

  • Lost wages

  • Lost future earnings

  • Permanent disability

  • Mental anguish

  • Pain and suffering

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Loss of companionship in wrongful death cases

  • And more

Should Claimants Work With a Truck Accident Lawyer?

Should Claimants Work With a Truck Accident Lawyer?

Commercial truck accidents are often severe and have catastrophic consequences. Both parties are at risk of injury and property loss.

However, both in Nashville, Tennessee, and other US cities, trucking companies and commercial vehicle operators are required to be careful in order to avoid putting other people's lives at risk while on the road.

In addition, all parties involved in the loading process of a tractor-trailer and authorities in charge of keeping roads safe have a duty to take care of others' safety.

If any of these parties fail to comply with safety requirements or are reckless, victims can file a claim and hold them accountable for their actions.

However, this legal process is complex. Therefore, claimants need help from a Nashville truck accident lawyer.

Experts can help victims understand their rights, build a strong case with enough supporting evidence, hold talks with the insurance company, and present the claim in court to recover compensation.

Call Schuerger Shunnarah Attorneys and Get a Free Consultation Today!

At Schuerger Shunnarah Attorneys, we want to help people injured in truck accidents recover the compensation they deserve for the harm and losses they suffered. They can also help determine who's at fault in brake failure accidents.

Our team is willing to guide victims through the legal process to hold at-fault parties accountable for their negligence or carelessness and recover the financial compensation they deserve.

Anyone who needs help from a truck accident lawyer in Nashville can contact Schuerger Shunnarah Attorneys and get a free consultation today. We go to war for our clients.


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